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Christchurch Glows Teal For Dementia

Landmarks across Ōtautahi-Christchurch will be lit up in teal on 3 November to encourage Cantabrians to kōrero about Dementia. It is the first time the city will take part in the international ‘Light the World in Teal’ initiative, which will see sites lit up across Aotearoa and the globe in support of people and whānau living with the neurological condition.

Dementia Canterbury is leading the Ōtautahi event called ‘Light the Night in Teal’. Chief Executive Darral Campbell says it is an opportunity for people to share stories about their loved ones with ‘Mate Wareware / Dementia’ and show solidarity with their community.

“There are more than 70,000 people living with Mate Wareware / Dementia across Aotearoa. Our community tell us that Dementia can be incredibly isolating. Light the Night in Teal is one way we as Cantabrians can show those living with Dementia and their whānau that they are not alone,” Campbell says.

Lois and her family are one of the thousands of whānau Dementia Canterbury are lighting up Christchurch in teal for. Lois was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease in February 2021 and says she had a hard time accepting her diagnosis. “But I have a degree in English and when I started to forget how to spell things, I had to face up to the fact that it might be right,” she says.

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Lois and her whānau were referred to Dementia Canterbury and she has since become involved in many social, physical, and mental hauora-focused activities.

“I’ve completed Dementia Canterbury’s Life Story Programme. A group of us have weekly meetings and we go on outings. We have a full schedule of activities with the Dementia Canterbury Younger Onset Programme. It’s so great to have such a wonderful group of people to spend time with and laugh and have fun, and sometimes to get serious. Sometimes it’s the only place we feel normal, as everyone understands,” she says.

Lois’ daughter Sarah English says that the difference Dementia Canterbury’s support has made for her Mum and the family is huge. “The team stood beside mum and our family, and gave us information, tools and reassurance that enabled us to feel more confident and relaxed with the path ahead of us. Mum has a much more positive outlook on life now. She has had access to a range of activities that help keep her active and get her meeting new people. With Dementia Canterbury’s gentle but ongoing support, Mum was able to find some control again and has used this to take proactive steps to start making her life easier,” she says.

Cantabrians can show their support for people with Dementia at the Bridge of Remembrance on 3 November, from 8pm to 10pm. The bridge will be lit in teal and the Dementia Canterbury team will be onsite with their social media frames. Sites will also be lit up in teal at the Botanical Gardens, Captain Scott Plaza, Bowker Fountain in Victoria Square, and the Vaka 'a Hina sculpture. People are encouraged to share their teal photos and Dementia stories on social media, with the hashtag #TealForDementia.

“We’d love to hear about your loved one with Dementia, so come along and tell us who you’re lighting the world in teal for. Let’s light up our social media feeds in support, as well as lighting up Christchurch,” Campbell says.

Light the World in Teal was started by the Alzheimers Foundation of America and is part of Dementia Canterbury’s Annual Appeal month in November.

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